Parents Angered That No Charges Are Filed In Son's Death
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 30, 2006
SWANSEA, WALES--The parents of a 12-year-old boy who died while on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, called for a change in manslaughter laws that allowed those responsible for his care and safety to escape prosecution.
Christopher Brown, who had Angelman syndrome, was in France for a weeklong trip with the British charity Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT) in April 2001. The Trust had promised to provide one-on-one supervision for the boy, who had trouble walking and reportedly did not recognize dangerous situations.
During a three-day inquest held last week, Coroner Philip Rogers heard testimony that on April 18, Christopher wandered away from the group of other children when his volunteer caregiver briefly went to use the restroom. The boy then walked onto an access road where he was struck by a 54-seat bus that was backing up.
He died later of multiple injuries.
Rogers said Friday that it was clear that Christopher's parents, Michael and Sue, differed from the Trust in their understanding of what "one-on-one" supervision meant.
French authorities had already cleared the driver of criminal charges.
"We have been told no-one who was supposed to be looking after Christopher will be charged," Sue Brown told the Western Mail after the verdict was announced Friday. "It is clear to us the law as it stands needs to be changed."
"Family anger at boy's coach death" (BBC News)
"New manslaughter laws needed say boy's parents" (Western Mail)